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What are you Reading? Jejune June 2019 edition

New month, new thread!

I just finished Sumner-Smith's Radiant. The worldbuilding got a little muddled now and then, but the story and conclusion were great.

Next up is a re-read of Tolkien's Unfinished Tales, which I haven't read in ages.
 

Janx

Adventurer
I am on the tail end of Progenie, by a local writer Mack Little.

Complex plot, back and forth in ancient past. More erotica than my taste.
 

Kramodlog

Adventurer
I'm reading Autonomous by Annalee Newitz, co-founder of io9 magazine. I like it it, but it could be so much more. Transgender robots and biological property deserve more.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I'm reading "The Labyrinth Index", book N (where N is the total books out so far) in Charles Stross' Laundry Files.

As much as I really enjoy this series, I'm a bit underwhelmed. Part fo that is high expectations. Part of it is the PoV character - we've seen her in several books and shes true to form. BUT we also saw her in the very first book as a minor character and when she's gotten more focus she's never reconciled being that character from the first book. Basically, I think I still hold it against her that she's a product of what the series needs instead of true to her original (though biased narrator) introduction. Petty of me, but if it was conscious I could nix it.

I love how in the last few books CS has really made the world change in reaction to the events of the books. However, I'm about 40% through this one and I feel like a lot of time was spent on the state of the world - not in any one gulp, but kind of fragmenting the flow to incorporate so many different elements. Not nearly as much as later Robert Jordan books, but still the same concept, just taken down by about two orders of magnitude.

Of course, underwhelmed from high expectations is still leaving me with a good book with just too much prep, and it looks like it's finally really getting in motion for classic Laundry "Oh F-udge!" layers of twists in the action. So I'm enthusiastically hopeful about the remaining 60%.
 
Finished up Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales. It really is a deep dive and gives some wonderful insights into his works and the history of Middle-earth.

Now I’m onto Passing Strange, a novella by Emily Klages.
 

Richards

Adventurer
I'm reading Stone of Tymora by R. A. Salvatore and his son Geno. It's in the Drizzt Do'Urden series but doesn't feature Drizzt; instead, he's just a character encountered by the protagonist, a young boy being chased by a demon who wants the black stone (no doubt the eponymous "stone of Tymora") the boy wears around his neck.

The story's okay, but this book has a major problem I've never quite encountered before, and one that quite puzzles me: despite being a hardback book (for which I paid an entire dollar at a library book sale), the print is in a font size much smaller than even any paperback book I've ever seen - which is particularly irritating given the fact that the pages have some of the largest margins I've ever encountered. They could have easily increased the font size, decreased the margins, and not affected the page count at all. Even with my reading glasses, making out the words on the page requires a Concentration check from me every round - there's no way I could read the book without the optical enhancement afforded me by my reading glasses.

If the plot starts to suck, I may abandon this book unfinished - something I rarely do. But with this major strike against it, I don't think it would be worth the bother.

Johnathan
 
I can read without my glasses, but some of the tiny fonts used are just maddening – it’s like, publisher, you do know humans are supposed to be able to read this and enjoy themselves, right?

Although, being able to adjust the font size on my Kindle is super-useful, and that definitely affects my decision as to whether to buy digital or print.


The story's okay, but this book has a major problem I've never quite encountered before, and one that quite puzzles me: despite being a hardback book (for which I paid an entire dollar at a library book sale), the print is in a font size much smaller than even any paperback book I've ever seen
 
Finished Klages' Passing Strange. An elegant tale, with just enough light fantasy and pulp magazine references to keep it genre.

Now it's Michael Swanwick's The Iron Dragon's Daughter.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
After finishing "The Labyrinth Index", I moved on to the third Dagmar Shaw book by Walter Jon Williams, "The Fourth Wall". I liked the first Dagmar Shaw book a good deal but did not love it, and the second book wasn't up to the first in my opinion. If it wasn't WJW I probably would have stopped there. This third book, told from a new character's point of view who is not an intimate colleague of Dagmar Shaw, was much nearer to the quality of the first book than the second. Seeing her through outside eyes and inferring what was going on knowing her and her usual band, which the PoV character was not privy to, was a fun read.

After that I read a collection of Larry Niven's Known Space short stories, "Neutron Star". Copyright in '66 and '67, these could have been horribly outdated. And the ocasional comment abotu a tape for the computer was there, but since most of the hard science was abotu astronomical bodies and the futurist parts were well done, it did not feel like 50+ year dated SF.

Holy #^%^*, that was written more than 50 years ago. I cut my teeth on it, when the librarians let em peruse the adult stacks of the SF and Fantasy after I read out the kids sections. Dang, get off my lawn.

Larry Niven has been and will continue to be among my favorite SF authors that I grew up with. Not quite Heinlein or Zelazny, but still.

I didn't actually read my first fantasy book until something like 4th grade, when a friend from summer camp lent me "A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. LeGuin. Wow.

Back in modern day, I'm unearthing the horrible mess my library has become. It has no room for more shelves and it seems my book purchases require another purge to fit. I got rid of the entire Robert Jorden series, most in hardcover. And a bunch of others, but I've already purged several time and there is little low hanging fruit. Still need more room, so I'm rereading books I haven't read in a decade to decided if I am keeping them or not.

Just started Andre Norton's "Sargasso of Space", copyright 1955 to continue my trend. The town library had a good amount of Andre Norton when I was a kid, but I don't remember this one from then. More about ... Zero Stones, that sound a lot like psychic Ioun Stones if we were playing D&D.

The copyright is to Andrew North, which one could make a guess is the real name of the pseudonym of Andre Norton. But the reality is that Andre Norton, Andrew North, and Allan Weston were all pseudonyms of Alice Mary Norton, back in the days when women SF writers were not just unknown but almost unthinkable. She was the first female SFWA Grand Master but that wasn't until 2005 - 50 years after this story was written.

Okay, enough blasts from the past. Time to read.
 
I finished Swanwick’s “The Iron Dragon’s Daughter.” It was okay. It started off really spectacular, with this industrial-urban fantasy set-up. But somewhere around the middle, it started to meander, and had to work too hard for the climax of the tale, which in turn robbed it of some of the impact. There’s some wonderful world-building, but the part that really ended up mattering at the end didn’t quite get enough treatment to ground it in context. Ah well…


Next up is an Appendix N read, with Lin Carter’s Thongor and the Wizard of Lemuria.
 

Janx

Adventurer
Just finished Addleton Heights, a side note is that it name dropped somebody who's in my local Steampunk scene, so I'll have to ask him what that's all about when I see him later this week.

Started Sword of Summer by Ric Riordan on recommendation because it's Norsey like my book-in-progress is.
 
I thought Sword of Summer a fun read with some neat worldbuilding, though the protagonist was a little too snarky for my tastes.

Just finished Thongor and the Wizard of Lemuria. I know Lin Carter isn’t well thought of as an author, but I’ve enjoyed the heck out of his books. They’re entertaining and weird, and Thongor is no exception.

Next up is Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff. I’ve been meaning to read this since I finished Assassins Creed: Origins.


Started Sword of Summer by Ric Riordan on recommendation because it's Norsey like my book-in-progress is.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I sadly could not finish Andre Norton's Sargasso of Space. I just couldn't get into it. After all the fond memories I have of her writing from younger, that was a bit surprising.

I picked up Brief Cases by Jim Butcher, a collection of short stories set in his Dresden Files world. Very enjoyable. Weren't just in the world, they did a good job of adding to it. Almost picked up the first book in the series to reread them all, but Butcher's blog says that he just finished the finale chapter last week on the new one, just one more chapter, wrap-up, to go. I figure I'll reread he series so that I'll have the new one when it's out.

My TBR pile didn't call me, so I grabbed Jennifer Government by Max Berry. I had read it once before, remember it being about a 6 out of 10, and am rereading it with an eye towards purging it. What is the world coming to?

Hey, anyone read Sarah Maas' Throne of Glass? I enjoyed the first, picked up 2-4 but I'm stuck like 3/4 of the way through the second one and haven't touched it in months. Someone who liked the series give me some encouragement so I pick it back up.
 

Janx

Adventurer
I thought Sword of Summer a fun read with some neat worldbuilding, though the protagonist was a little too snarky for my tastes.
yeah, it's definitely heavy on the snark. But I'm writing an Urban Fantasy, so those commonly have a sarcastic protagonist

Found out from my wife that this is the same guy who did the Percy Jackson series (saw the first 2 movies).

The pattern I'm seeing is the MC is the son of a God each time. I have no clue if he mixes it up in other series (ex: daughter of goddess or some combination).
 

Ryujin

Adventurer
Reading/proofing bits and pieces from the "Fartherall World Bible", which covers the world that many of the Zombie Orpheus Entertainment movies and shorts take place in. Also got a bit of a preview of the JourneyQuest season 4 script :)
 
Norton’s writing has yet to click for me. I read Forerunner last, and it was just okay. It wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t spark flames.

I read Throne of Glass and liked it well enough. I keep meaning to follow up on the series, but have yet to do so. Maybe if the proposed Hulu series ever happens…

I sadly could not finish Andre Norton's Sargasso of Space. I just couldn't get into it. After all the fond memories I have of her writing from younger, that was a bit surprising.

Hey, anyone read Sarah Maas' Throne of Glass? I enjoyed the first, picked up 2-4 but I'm stuck like 3/4 of the way through the second one and haven't touched it in months. Someone who liked the series give me some encouragement so I pick it back up.
 

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